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The acting in this movie is a bit wooden and the plot not all that
deep, but was so much better than expected. One of the most delightful
parts of the movie was the equine players. The palominos were beautiful
and the acting of "The Duke" was almost on par with those of the
"Smartest Horse in the Movies," Trigger himself.
A western it is, but a modern western. No gunfights in this one. The hero seems unlikely but works hard to be likable. This movie won no awards, which is understandable. It was below par on all fronts, but was not so bad that you wanted to turn it off. It reminded me of an old episode of "The Lone Ranger," or "The Cisco Kid," except for the lack of firearms.
I caught it on TCM. It was rated as one out four stars so I expected little. I was pleasantly surprised. It deserved at least a star and a half ... I gave it a six here.
This production by Harry Cohn's nephew Robert, released through
Columbia, looks, at first sight, like a Fox Production -- that bright,
slightly overlit color photography that said "When we said Technicolor,
we meant it!" If DP Vincent Farrar doesn't use the opportunity to
produce any startling compositions, he does know how to use his cameras
and locations to good effect.
We also get a sense, for a change, that there is actually a history behind events in this western: the ranches have been here for generations, run by English-speaking people with Spanish names and probably land grants from the King of Spain in their safes.
What reduces this effort to no more than middling is the acting. The older actors are fine, particularly Gordon Jones, who gets to play a straight role for a change. But the juvenile leads, Jerome Courtland and Beverly Tyler, don't sound like they are talking, but reading their lines.
Still, if you're looking at a western, you're looking at pretty pictures first. There are plenty of those here.
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